2017 was a dumpster fire for a lot of reasons, but here are some of the things that made it awful. Things on this list did not have to be new in 2017, just either new to me or relevant in some way. For some more cheer, you can switch over to the best 2017 had to offer instead.
I hate giving him any attention at all, but because of his position he’s become impossible to ignore. Divisive and inflammatory, the first year of Trump’s presidency proved that everyone’s worst fears about him were spot-on. Childish and frequently angry, he nearly provokes war with his Twitter feed and routinely lashes out at his enemies. He’s rolling back progress on the environment and has enabled the worst greed and power-hunger in his cohorts, who rolled back economic regulations, tax laws, and more just to benefit themselves. Not to mention he’s got the unqualified Betsy DeVos ruining education. And we’ve only skimmed the surface. Every year we have to deal with Trump is going to be awful.
I barely even check Facebook anymore. The fake memes or stories that no one bothered to fact check are so disheartening. Combined with the population’s general determination to not be open-minded about anything, it’s a very closed experience–and Facebook itself makes it worse by using algorithms to serve you more of what it thinks you’ll engage with instead of the reality you need. Instagram has officially become my social media of choice (and even that is getting screwed up by algorithms).
La La Land
I’ve already talked about what a garbage movie La La Land is, but it bears repeating. It’s a movie about two awful, self-centered white people panicking that they won’t get what they want out of life. Not only is it awful in general, it lands with a thud in these times we’re living in. And it nearly won Best Picture.
Trump’s bold scumbaggery brought out the very worst in his party. They’ve gone to work trashing the country and have in turn enabled Trump and a host of unseemly characters. They promoted a racist Attorney General and supported a pedophile running for Senate–just to name two. This turnabout began before Trump, but he fully realized it.
Star Trek: Discovery
As a former Trekkie, I was excited for a new series. But after three episodes of Discovery, I was out. Instead of feeling like a bold new Star Trek, it plays like American Horror Story in space–which is not something I’m into. There’s a kitchen sink feel to it with no narrative throughline. War! Mystery! Monsters! Conspiracy! Rebellion! The Klingon scenes are clumsy and the lead character is so ludicrously built up to be a heroic rebel that I just can’t with her.
Mrs. Fletcher, by Tom Perrotta
I like Tom Perrotta a lot, so it was disappointing to find that Mrs. Fletcher is a poor retread of territory he’s covered before–and better. It also caters to his worst instincts as a writer–like his affinity for frat-ish white dudes who don’t want to grow up and can’t get their shit together. Perrotta toys with self-awareness to try to make these foibles palatable, but when the book ultimately has nothing to say, it just fails miserably.
The ending of Wonder Woman
To be clear: Wonder Woman is a mostly great movie. It’s the ending that keeps it from being fully great. There’s been an escalation in superhero movies where it’s required to have the entire world at stake in order for it to work. Marvel is guilty of this, too: Thor: Ragnarok treats its villain, Hela, like an afterthought for most of the movie because it’s more interested in the road trip it goes on before circling back to her. But look at Spiderman: Homecoming, which had a more quiet confrontation that sacrificed nothing in terms of suspense or quality. I wish Wonder Woman had gone that route instead of going for bombast, which DC has proven to suck at in movies. Diana deserved an ending that wasn’t just mindless CGI spectacle.
Mildred Pierce, by James Cain
Without the murder mystery the film adaptation centers on, Mildred Pierce is a stultifyingly detailed story about a mother dealing with her extraordinarily selfish daughter and lazy playboy boyfriend while opening her own restaurant. Pages and pages go by where although there is an excruciating level of detail thrown at you, nothing happens.
Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins
Paula Hawkins made an electric debut with The Girl on the Train, but you’d never know the same author wrote this soggy follow-up about a town with secrets and a lake where people like to commit suicide. Perhaps terrified by the concept of following up on Girl‘s twisty story, Hawkins layered in far too many characters–each of whom gets a chance to narrate. The story quickly loses focus, and yet despite all this layering there aren’t any surprises either.
Chicago Med and Chicago Justice
I broke up with Chicago Med last year, then gave it another chance when Chicago Justice premiered. Mistake. It’s a waste of an hour that can’t be saved by a few standout characters. I broke up with it again when it premiered in November–and this time it’s for good. Justice, meanwhile, had serious structural problems. Namely, that the team won every single case–even when the jury voted against them initially. It was ludicrous. Thank goodness it was scrapped. You can almost put Chicago PD on this list, too, because now that it’s lost Sophia Bush it’s lost its mojo.